Some time ago, Mel Kleiman, a great author and a recruitment professional, published a provocative article: “Top 10 Ways to Ensure Your Best People Will Quit”. It’s a great to-the-point read, providing tips on what not to do. It acts just as a warning for all the leaders out there, who are worried their talented employees might be leaving soon. To give a short recap, his top 10 ways to guarantee that the best people will quit, are:
Why They Leave
- Treating everyone equally. As bad as it might sound, not everybody are equal. Some produce more, some less results.
- Tolerating mediocrity. Some of the top performers might not be excellent team players. Putting them together with a bunch of C-players is not good for anyone.
- Having dumb rules. We need rules to make sure everything runs smoothly. That doesn't mean these rules can be dumb.
- Not recognizing outstanding performance and contributions. It's just that important, give your employees feedback and recognize the behavior you want repeated.
- Not having any fun at work. Even when you're dealing with serious challenges, it doesn't mean you have to be serious all the time. Workplace can and should be fun.
- Not keeping your people informed. Once again, we are back to emphasizing the importance of internal communications.
- Micromanaging. Did you know, that 38% of employees would rather do unpleasant activities – like opt for more work or sit next to someone who eats noisily – than sit next to their micromanaging boss.
- Not developing an employee retention strategy. Do you have a list of people you can't afford to loose? What are you doing to keep keep them engaged?
- Not conducting employee retention interviews. It's already too late when your top-performer walks out the door. You need to be able to guess their thoughts beforehand.
- Making the onboarding program an exercise in tedium. Your new hires are most impressionable during the first two months on the job.
How Leaders Can Keep Employees from Leaving
I think no-one could argue with these points. These leader behaviors are definitely a sign that in the near future, your employees are going to walk out the door. Yet, there is one aspect that is missing. The article says what leaders shouldn't do by providing behavioral examples one sought to avoid.
There is one important question that is left unanswered: What should you do to ensure your people stay engaged and on board? What should you do to keep your employees from leaving?
I am an advocate of positive thinking. As naive as it sounds, I believe our positive or negative thoughts have enormous effect on the result. Therefore, I believe we need to share our knowledge that has already produced great results. Here are 10 tips that make your employees stay around and keep them more engaged.
How to keep your employees from leaving?
1. Give more praise and recognition. It’s not always about money or tangible extrinsic rewards. Why? Many people quit because of lack of appreciation. Extroverts or introverts, your employees still get a kick out of public or private praise. People like to be recognized for their wins.
2. Set clear objectives and goals. It’s difficult for employees to give their best if the task’s goal changes more often than they change their socks. Communicate your expectations clearly and set precise goals. Results are only as strong as the objectives you set. Try the management Google and LinkedIn practice—OKR—Objectives and Key Results.
3. Be future-driven. Analyzing the past is important to projecting the future. But focusing solely on employees’ progress isn’t enough in a fast-paced workplace. You also need to study the future, as impossible as it might sound. Using a management technique like PPP— Progress, Plans, Problems—helps you be aware of your teams’ plans.
4. Seek input and ideas. More often than we think, decisions are made without seeking input. This strategy might save you few minutes or hours, but it doesn’t guarantee success. Sometimes it’s okay not to be the smartest person in the room. Ask input from people around you. Your team has brilliant ideas; just learn to ask.
5. Give continual feedback. As tasks grow more complex and interdependent, people need more feedback. Employees need to feel that they are heard by their managers and they need it more often than twice a year. There is a correlation between employee engagement and periodic feedback.
You Must Be Attentive
6. Measure satisfaction. All of these tips mean nothing, if you fail to measure their success. Although it would be wonderful if it were true that one could assert that 2 pieces of feedback a week increased employee satisfaction by X percent, it is just not the case. Guidelines are only guiding lines. You are responsible for figuring out the exact actions. You can manage only what you measure.
7. Save time in meetings. One of the biggest employee motivation killers is wasting their time. Holding a poorly prepared status update meeting that lasts for hours wastes everyone’s time, including your own. Prepare for meetings; replace unnecessary meetings with online real-time tools. Try the free online Team Meeting Toolbox. Providing you with necessary tools before, during and after the meeting, so you're next meeting would be awesome.
8. Ask about emotions and attitudes. Don’t mix giving praise and providing feedback with asking about attitudes and emotions. The two are not the same. The first two relate to the result, the other two relate to the journey. You’ll be surprised what you learn about your team when you ask emotional questions.
9. Don’t be too negative. Constructive feedback is necessary, even if it’s negative, but regular criticism will take down even the strongest. People have much greater recall of unpleasant memories than positive ones. To keep your people happy and motivated, be positive and lead by example.
10. Communicate openly. Open internal communication plays a big role in successful teamwork. Share your weekly plans and thoughts; it will encourage an open atmosphere. Only after mastering the skill of sharing openly can you expect the same from everyone else.
What are your strategies for keeping your employees from leaving?